Is torture ever justified? The influence of group membership, interrogation approach, and success on attributions of interrogator behavior and perceived acceptability of torture

by LaBianca, Julia Rose, Ph.D., THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO, 2016, 138 pages; 10151123


The purpose of these three experiments was to determine what factors affect Americans’ attitudes toward torture and the interrogators who engage in torture. Using theories of intergroup bias, fundamental attribution error, and cognitive dissonance, the three experiments investigated how people make behavioral attributions for an interrogator, as well as how people perceive the acceptability, ethicalness, effectiveness, and procedural justice of the technique used. Four variables were manipulated: group membership of the interrogator and detainee, outcome of the interrogation, and type of interrogation tactic used. It was expected that people would make attributional and attitudinal judgments in a manner that preserved the integrity of their in-group. Specific hypotheses are discussed prior to each experiment.

AdviserChristian A. Meissner
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsSocial psychology; Psychology
Publication Number10151123

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